Ah, the most common phrase I hear “I gained two pounds this weekend; I am so annoyed”. Ok, lets start there. YOU may have gained some weight over the weekend, but I am fairly confident that you did not gain FAT. This may be one of the MOST misconstrued theories in the health/fitness/wellness world.
I understand, most people own scales, and the people that own scales usually get on that O.C.D. inducing device daily–if not more. Let me set the record straight about your couple of extra pounds that appeared after just a few days. If you are eating the recommended amount of calories, and are moderately to very active you should be eating 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day, according to The U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s a fairly good amount of food for an average female.
Let’s say you are a moderately active female and consuming between 1800-2000 calories per day, you would have to EAT 3500 additional calories in a day to gain ONE pound of fat. That is equal to roughly between 5300-5500 calories or 10 Big Macs, or 20 full sized glazed doughnuts from Dunkin Doughnuts, . How many of you did THAT over the weekend?
That’s where WATER/FLUID RETENTION comes into play, Many possible causes exist for retaining water and fluids, including too much salt, sugar, dehydration, too much alcohol, and dieting.
Salt: Excess sodium makes the body hold extra fluids in the cells. When you cut down salt and high sodium condiments like soy sauce, you can quickly lose water weight.
Sugar: This baby is a culprit in water weight along with salt. Too much sugar raises insulin levels, which in turn lessens the body’s ability to expel sodium. Avoid high sugar foods and opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
Alcohol: It acts as a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration that makes the body hold on to fluids. When having alcoholic drinks, balance them with water.
Dieting: Eating less than 1,200 calories per day, can cause your body to retain water. When we restrict calories, especially carbohydrates, the body begins to break down its protein and carbohydrates stores that hold water. When eating returns to normal and the body starts to store protein and carbohydrates again instead of breaking them down, water weight increases. For real weight loss, you must gradually reduce calorie intake to a healthy level, with a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins.
So after the weekend, when you step on the scale and FREAK OUT…do this instead:
Drink more water-8 glasses is recommend, but 10-12 will help flush your body faster.
Exercise! Sodium leaves the body in your sweat during exercise, so be sure to exercise regularly.
Eat fresh fruits and veggies! A lot of vegetables and fruits act as natural diuretics. Here is a list that you can use for reference: celery, tomatoes, onion, beets, artichokes, horseradish, eggplant, leafy green lettuce, asparagus, cranberries, cranberry juice, watermelon and cucumbers! Also, melon and citrus fruits are particularly effective, because they also contain potassium, which balances the sodium in the kidneys and encourages urine excretion.
So before you hop on the scale and “flip out” next Monday…remember what you just read!